Vaccines Coronavirus

All about the COVID-19 vaccines

Last updated: October 2023


Seasonal COVID-19 vaccines

COVID-19 vaccine booster doses are being offered seasonally to those at increased risk of severe COVID-19. The next available booster is the Autumn 2023 booster.

You, or your child, may be offered a seasonal COVID-19 vaccine if you are:

  • aged 65 years old or over
  • aged 6 months to 64 years old and are at increased risk
  • living in a care home for older adults
  • a frontline health or social care worker
  • aged 16 to 64 years old and are a carer
  • aged 12 to 64 years old and live with someone with a weakened immune system

Many of those who are eligible will be contacted by text or email by their local NHS service to arrange an appointment. If you believe you are eligible but have not been contacted, check the NHS website on how to book - Getting a COVID-19 vaccine - NHS ( - or get in touch with your GP surgery for advice.

For more information about who can get a coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine, please visit:

About the COVID-19 vaccine - NHS (


Getting a 1st and 2nd dose

Children aged 6 months to 4 years old who are at increased risk of getting seriously ill from COVID-19 can get a 1st and 2nd COVID-19 vaccine. They can then get a seasonal COVID-19 vaccination through their GP surgery.

The offer of a 1st and 2nd dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, for those aged 5 years old and over, came to an end in June 2023. Those who have not received a 1st and 2nd dose yet are now being advised to get the seasonal booster vaccination as their primary dose.


Advice for Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland

NHS general advice is for the whole of the UK. But you can follow these links to find out more specific vaccination information for these nations:


What will the coronavirus vaccine do?

The COVID-19 vaccines and boosters are designed to protect you from coronavirus by creating the antibodies and cells required to fight off coronavirus and provide immunity from the virus. Vaccines give the best possible protection against COVID-19.

This does not mean you cannot catch or spread the virus. as the vaccines are given in two doses, and the body takes time to create the protection it needs.

There are three vaccines being administered in the UK. They have all met strict standards of safety, quality, and effectiveness.


Will the vaccines be safe for people with muscle-wasting conditions?

Advice from Professor Francesco Muntoni, Professor Ros Quinlivan, Dr Adnan Manzur and Dr Chiara Marini-Bettolo, the four neuromuscular experts leading the paediatric and adult North Star and SMA Reach networks of neuromuscular health professionals:

‘In line with the national and international guidelines, we can advise that the Pfizer/BioNTech, Moderna, and Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine should be fine to receive for those living with a neuromuscular condition, including those on immunosuppression treatments. We therefore encourage you to get vaccinated at your earliest opportunity.

Those on immunosuppression may have a reduced immune response (in other words, the vaccine will be less effective) but can still have the vaccine.

It is important to remember that the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) would not have licenced the vaccine if there were any doubts as to its safety.’

There are common side-effects from receiving the COVID-19 vaccine; you can refer to the information provided to you when you received your vaccine, or to the government website. If you have any concerns, you are advised to speak with your neuromuscular clinical team. If you have received a COVID-19 vaccination and have experienced side-effects, you can report all suspected side-effects to the MHRA by using the Coronavirus Yellow Card reporting system.